Contributed by Shuhan Li | Marist Catholic High School DECA, OR
It's no surprise that new technologies have impacted the course of entrepreneurship and various start-up businesses. The digital age has forever changed how entrepreneurship is approached, from the introduction of new social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to new products like online courses. New technologies and the digital age have shaped entrepreneurship in many ways. However, there are three major impacts that the digital age has had on entrepreneurship that can be seen everywhere.
1. New Marketing Strategies
Perhaps the most obvious impact of the digital age on entrepreneurship is new marketing strategies. Digital marketing has become a new area of marketing. With new social media platforms becoming increasingly popular, any business has the potential to advertise and reach a wider audience, especially younger generations. Small businesses have been able to go viral on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok or YouTube with short videos such as packing orders or answering questions.
Social media has also increased the opportunities and number of touchpoints between businesses and customers, allowing people to chat directly with businesses on these platforms or watch their short videos. For example, slime small business Snoop Slimes has gone viral on Instagram and TikTok, gaining 1.8 million followers on Instagram and 4.3 million followers on TikTok as of January 2024. This has allowed them to increase sales and reach thousands of customers that they wouldn't have been able to reach without these social media platforms.
In the digital age, business owners have also been able to use various other tactics, such as digital newsletters or email lists, to keep customers in the loop. Coupons, promotions, new products and everything in between can be digitized, making it easier for customers to stay loyal and come back for more.
2. New Products and Services
The digital age has also shifted the types of products and services that companies can offer. Physical, tangible products and services are no longer the only type of products and services that customers buy - online, digital goods have become widely available. For example, online courses have become a trending digital product. Companies such as TedED or Coursera have been able to offer online courses that any customer can easily access from the comfort of their own home.
Companies are also able to provide a wider variety of products. Digital products such as phone wallpapers or a subscription to a streaming service are some examples of new products that companies can offer.
3. Establishment of Online Selling and E-commerce
The digital age has seen the rise of e-commerce platforms, allowing businesses to reach a global audience without needing a physical storefront. Platforms such as Etsy, Amazon and Shopify have become popular tools for small businesses to market their products easily, and larger businesses have been able to use website builders or hire web developers to create their online store.
Buying products and services has changed as well. Customers can purchase goods using online cards such as Apple Pay or Paypal, or they can still use a credit card. Swiping a card through a physical card swiper is no longer necessary - instead, customers can easily complete a transaction on their computer or mobile device.
Because of the digital age and online platforms, businesses can sell internationally or to people who do not live near the business. This expands a company’s customer and consumer base and allows customers to shop virtually anywhere.
However, it’s important to note that the shift to online sales comes with its own set of threats, particularly cybersecurity and user privacy. Because all customer information and data is stored online, weak security measures can expose private customer information, such as credit card numbers. This also means that companies must take the step to further implement security measures, especially in cybersecurity, to ensure the safety of their customers.
The digital age has forever changed how businesses and entrepreneurs operate, from new marketing strategies to increased product types to online sales and e-commerce. New digital technologies are still relatively new, and more improvements, inventions and different approaches are yet to come.